The Regional Nature Reserve "Montagne della Duchessa" has an area of over 3,540 hectares, represented by a mountainous area with a rugged and wild morphology, dominated by Monte Morrone (2141 m) and Murolungo (2184 m). The landscape is somewhat suggestive and varied, rising in altitude, from the 950m of Valle Amara and Cartore, the mixed woods of turkey oak, ash, hornbeam, rowan and maple, give way, above 1200 m., to the monumental beech woods.

Digital terrain model of the Nature Reserve Digital terrain model of the Nature Reserve

The highest peaks are dominated by perennial pastures and large rocky surfaces where even plant life becomes difficult. From north to south alternate deep and narrow valleys with more or less rugged reliefs: at Monte Cava (2000m asl) follows the deep furrow of Valle Amara which, if in summer it is an important access to the Reserve, in winter it is often impractical because, by collecting the torrential waters that "channel" into the valleys at higher altitudes, it is transformed into a real river bed. This is followed by the emergence of Monte Morrone and then again the Vallone di Fua and the Vallone del Cieco which lead to the enchanting and uncontaminated Lake of the Duchess (1788 m asl). Further south, the Murolungo dominates the Vallone di Teve with its rocky spurs.

Within the perimeter of the Reserve, there are two Sites of Community Interest (SIC) belonging to the Natura 2000 network, listed below:

At the end of the process, the two "SIC" have been designated, Special Conservation Area ("SAC") with Decree 6 December 2016 of the Ministry of the Environment and protection of the territory and the sea, published in the Official Journal of the Italian Republic , General series - number 301 of 27-12-2016

Furthermore, the entire area of the Reserve, with the exception of some areas of the Ruara Valley, has been recognized by the European Commission and designated Special Protection Area (SPA), nature code IT6020046, in accordance with the Birds Directive 79 / 409CEE

The Reserve is registered in the official list of protected natural areas (acronym EUAP) drawn up and kept up to date by the Ministry of the environment and the protection of the territory and the sea (articles 3 paragraph 4 and 5 paragraph 2 of the Framework Law on protected areas number 394 of 6 December 1991), with the code EUAP0267.

For those who want to visit the Reserve methodically, it is advisable to stop in Cartore where there are accommodations.